LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Haven't been to downtown Louisville lately? A lot has changed.
The festive lights are on, Holiday in the City is up and running, and there is more traffic downtown. Things look different. The Omni Hotel is months away from opening. The Kentucky International Convention center closed in August of 2016 and is on time and on budget to re-open in August of 2018.
"Pretty much a bare slab," Louisville resident Franny Skulas said. "Just kinda popped up out of nowhere."
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Whether you are a regular or visitor to downtown Louisville it seems like construction at the convention center is moving fast.
"It's amazing how fast they knocked one down and built back another one," Brian Wrightsel, who works downtown said.
"I haven't been downtown in about two months," Skulas said. "I drove in yesterday and I saw all the glass up on the convention center and thought 'oh that actually looks pretty!'"
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It didn't look so pretty for many months. The convention center is wrapped in fencing with all the construction and heavy duty machines, multiple cranes and excavators. For those that have a front row seat, they see the progress everyday.
"We hear the banging and the noise but, we get to look out our window see them building it," Wrightsel said. "It's really coming along."
The biggest thing you will notice are the windows installed along Jefferson and Market Streets. The new roof, a new frame, is giving the convention center a whole new look.
"The old version had things hanging off of it, kind of grimy," Louisville resident Logan Carlisle said. "It's nice to see it get a facelift."
Construction crews are everywhere. There are about 400 workers on site 7 days a week. Once it's done, the convention center will have more than 50 meeting rooms and 200,000+ sq. ft. of exhibit space.
"It does look like it's going to be a beautiful facility," Wrightsel said.
The new convention center already has guaranteed business. About 54 conventions/meetings/events have been booked, beginning with the first event on August 10th, 2018, the Trade Show News Network.
There will be one thing missing downtown, the pedways. There were 3 pedways prior to construction at the convention center. Currently there are plans for only one, the existing pedway to the Marriott. A spokesperson for the Kentucky International Convention Center says there are no plans for a pedway to the Omni.